2 years, 11 months ago

Agile Plus DevOps Is Slowly But Steadily Reaching Enterprise Scale

Agile is still alive and well and in demand, according to Forrester’s Agile adoption panel. This year, our biannual survey tracking the health of Agile initiatives focused on the main challenge: Agile at scale. As software teams get further along their…

5 years, 11 months ago

Should You Say Yes to #NoEstimates?

Guest Post by Ray Hearrell The #NoEstimates debate has struck a nerve with the software development community. The #NoEstimates movement is about exploring alternatives to estimates (including cost, time, and effort) for making decisions in the software development life cycle. Should your team say “yes” to #NoEstimates? Let’s explore the pros and cons. The traditional approach of software development estimating focuses on: Taking the highest priority planned work Slicing work into risk-neutral stories Committing specific […]

6 years, 6 months ago

Scaling Agile for the Enterprise

Guest post by Tim Mattix, Mario Gouvea and Vikram Purohit With the ever-evolving software development landscape, large enterprises are increasingly “going Agile.” Agile is applicable to many scenarios; for example, Extreme Programming (XP) zeroes in on software engineering while wrapping in novel approaches to boost quality, and Scrum is the most widely adopted agile method. While both of these frameworks work well for software development teams, Agile is even suitable for less obvious initiatives, such […]

7 years, 6 months ago

SCRUM at the center of Enterprise Architecture

A couple of days ago a tweet from John Gøtze cought my attention

EA can be agile and scrummilicious, says @soerenstaun in guest lecture at the IT University of Copenhagen.
— John Gøtze (@gotze) 29. April 2013

And my reaction to it was it should:

“@gotze: EA can be agile and scrummilicious, says @soerenstaun in guest lecture at the IT University of Copenhagen.” I say it should!
— Kai Schlüter (@ChBrain) 29. April 2013




(c) Tom Graves

To explore this a bit further now finally this blog post. When I am tasked to implement Enterprise Architecture first time or to improve an existing capability then I put an agile approach in the core, preferable SCRUM. There is various reasons for this. To explain the concept I borrow the SCAN framework from Tom Graves, here in particular the post Sensemaking – modes and disciplines.


In my implementations of Enterprise Architecture activities I focus on the problem space Ambiguous and Not-Known. Ambiguous problems can be quite well solved with SCRUM, where “the whole is greater than the sum of it parts”, Aristotle. Agile approaches which do not put the team into the centre of their methodology do not seem to work as well in this problemspace. The identification to which quadrant a problem and the corresponding solution belongs is in my mind always an ambiguous problem, due to the scope of Enterprise Architecture, trying to cover the whole [which is more than the sum of its parts].

Problems which belong to Simple or Complicated I usually hand over as fast as possible to better suited teams or individuals, while the ambiguous problems I keep inside of Enterprise Architecture. The Not-Known space is total different and typically I focus on finding the Innovation which emerges here instead of trying to force it. I believe that Innovation can be easier found peripheral and not really by looking for it centrally.

By implementing SCRUM in the center some key elements needs to be in place to succeed. One of the most crucial elements is the Chief Architect, be it the official announced Chief Architect, or a manager (e.g. CIO) who is filling that role. The Chief Architect is the one who gets the SCRUM role Product Owner assigned. And here typically some effort and attention is needed to secure that the Chief Architect is focussing on delivering into his role as Product Owner instead of doing the actual work. The work should be done by the SCRUM team (or Pigs).

The most important element here is to create an environment in which the team utilizes the strenghts of each other. And here also lies one of the biggest challenges, because most Enterprise Architects have been grown from technical roles and have been survived quite some selection criterias till they have become an Enterprise Architect. Statistically I observe a high amount of heroes or divas, who are quite biased that an Enterprise Architect and especially they themselves are the crown of the evolution. Concepts like the Peter Principle support that thinking even more. 🙂

The only role which is fairly easy to fill is the SCRUM Master. Just take any good SCRUM Master who is NOT knowing much about Enterprise Architecture (preferred) or willingly not going into the content (sometimes hard, if the SCRUM Master is self biased believing to know better about Enterprise Architecture). So literally someone who only focusses on securing that the process runs.

This is of course not always easy to implement, but it is my main target to achieve. And I continue developing a team towards that target, till it is achieved. And when achieved the speed can be even increased, because then the environmental problems are solved and the focus can be on the delivery of good Enterprise Architecture Services, which is a post I also plan.  SCRUM helps me to deliver to my main objective. Enterprise Architecture and especially my approach GLUE is about People first:


Comments as always more than welcome.

7 years, 6 months ago

SCRUM at the center of Enterprise Architecture

A couple of days ago a tweet from John Gøtze cought my attention

EA can be agile and scrummilicious, says @soerenstaun in guest lecture at the IT University of Copenhagen.
— John Gøtze (@gotze) 29. April 2013

And my reaction to it was it should:

“@gotze: EA can be agile and scrummilicious, says @soerenstaun in guest lecture at the IT University of Copenhagen.” I say it should!
— Kai Schlüter (@ChBrain) 29. April 2013




(c) Tom Graves

To explore this a bit further now finally this blog post. When I am tasked to implement Enterprise Architecture first time or to improve an existing capability then I put an agile approach in the core, preferable SCRUM. There is various reasons for this. To explain the concept I borrow the SCAN framework from Tom Graves, here in particular the post Sensemaking – modes and disciplines.


In my implementations of Enterprise Architecture activities I focus on the problem space Ambiguous and Not-Known. Ambiguous problems can be quite well solved with SCRUM, where “the whole is greater than the sum of it parts”, Aristotle. Agile approaches which do not put the team into the centre of their methodology do not seem to work as well in this problemspace. The identification to which quadrant a problem and the corresponding solution belongs is in my mind always an ambiguous problem, due to the scope of Enterprise Architecture, trying to cover the whole [which is more than the sum of its parts].

Problems which belong to Simple or Complicated I usually hand over as fast as possible to better suited teams or individuals, while the ambiguous problems I keep inside of Enterprise Architecture. The Not-Known space is total different and typically I focus on finding the Innovation which emerges here instead of trying to force it. I believe that Innovation can be easier found peripheral and not really by looking for it centrally.

By implementing SCRUM in the center some key elements needs to be in place to succeed. One of the most crucial elements is the Chief Architect, be it the official announced Chief Architect, or a manager (e.g. CIO) who is filling that role. The Chief Architect is the one who gets the SCRUM role Product Owner assigned. And here typically some effort and attention is needed to secure that the Chief Architect is focussing on delivering into his role as Product Owner instead of doing the actual work. The work should be done by the SCRUM team (or Pigs).

The most important element here is to create an environment in which the team utilizes the strenghts of each other. And here also lies one of the biggest challenges, because most Enterprise Architects have been grown from technical roles and have been survived quite some selection criterias till they have become an Enterprise Architect. Statistically I observe a high amount of heroes or divas, who are quite biased that an Enterprise Architect and especially they themselves are the crown of the evolution. Concepts like the Peter Principle support that thinking even more. 🙂

The only role which is fairly easy to fill is the SCRUM Master. Just take any good SCRUM Master who is NOT knowing much about Enterprise Architecture (preferred) or willingly not going into the content (sometimes hard, if the SCRUM Master is self biased believing to know better about Enterprise Architecture). So literally someone who only focusses on securing that the process runs.

This is of course not always easy to implement, but it is my main target to achieve. And I continue developing a team towards that target, till it is achieved. And when achieved the speed can be even increased, because then the environmental problems are solved and the focus can be on the delivery of good Enterprise Architecture Services, which is a post I also plan.  SCRUM helps me to deliver to my main objective. Enterprise Architecture and especially my approach GLUE is about People first:


Comments as always more than welcome.

7 years, 8 months ago

An Agile Enterprise Architecture (EA) Delivers Critical Business and Mission Agility

While working with a recent partner, the question came up; “What changes are made to the EA approach if agile methods are required, or otherwise heavily encouraged?” The initial answer at the time was “Not many – we already have an agile approach to EA embedded in our Oracle Enterprise Architecture Development Process (OADP), and our Oracle Enterprise Architecture Framework (OEAF) is independent of project management and project development approaches.”

Our OADP has always been agile and therefore supportive of business and government agility – particularly in the current context of severely constrained budgeting cycles. We firmly believe in a “just enough, just in time” philosophy, with collaborative insight and contribution across teams and leadership, and delivery of EA artifacts or guidance tuned directly to prioritized results. This means strategic, useful and reusable guidance modeled and delivered in a manner that supports both longer-term initiatives and near-term objectives.

EA delivered as an agile approach, however, does require continual line-of-sight traceability back to the IT investment strategy – which in turn is aligned to the business strategy.  

In other words, a Sprint Iteration approach might be justified (i.e. using the “Scrum” strategy), from all relevant perspectives, to quickly establish a reusable process and metadata model for a common agency function – like “Document Routing and Approval” (DRA). The output might be required to inform a software solicitation (i.e. to explain the requirements).  The output might be to establish a reference model and basic governance (business rules) for identifying and improving process efficiencies around the agency where DRA is occurring.

The actual need for this EA artifact (or “Product”, in Agile terms) may be driven from an unanticipated mandate or regulatory change, and therefore require rapid response.  The need may also be limited in scope to only a portion of the agency’s business (i.e. those who actually know they need it).

So, an EA Sprint will work, and deliver what’s needed quickly and effectively to the target audience.  The highest return on investment (ROI) in this exercise, however, only exists if actual Enterprise traceability and impact assessment occurs. In other words, an agile EA output with a strategic Enterprise outcome.

Note this is a common misunderstanding for Agile software development; Agile programming and project management may deliver useful, rapid and cost-effective “features” from a Backlog of priorities, but much of the supporting infrastructure, integrations and organizational change isn’t delivered using Agile methods, but must evolve in a more strategic, methodic manner.  Preferably with EA guidance.

Here’s what should happen.  The common DRA process, metamodel and business rules begin to shape, in a somewhat parochial “requirements-driven” context, heavily leveraging the impacted SMEs for a short period of time. As this occurs, the Enterprise Architect and stakeholders begin mapping and comparing the DRA process design (at appropriately coarse levels of abstraction) to any similar that may exist within the agency, or among agency partners or stakeholders.  This may require some additional outreach and communication.  The EA may find additional SMEs, risk factors, standards, COTS DRA solution accelerators, overlapping data management projects, etc. – essentially other activities or resources that can be used or might be impacted.

The Enterprise Architect is the Scrum Master!

Strategic oversight and influence is therefore brought to bear on the EA sprint, and by leveraging EA methods, the impacts to the rest of the organization plus any modifications to the focus EA artifact can be addressed – entirely within standard and expected IT Governance. The EA artifact development is a Sprint, but actually leverages our lifecycle methodology – from Business Context through Current and Future States, and then Roadmap (i.e. Transitional Architecture) and Governance.  The EA Sprint may actually kick off or modify a more holistic EA maintenance process.

We are therefore avoiding an “agile everything” philosophy, though we’re delivering agile results.   We contribute over-arching guidance and process for both the DRA project and the organization as a whole, to make sure that all projects underway are still aligned to meet the needs of the business and IT investment constraints.

This is essentially what we believe in applying our EA process, over time or during more Agile response cycles; always raise and maintain focus on the business strategy and drivers to guide the investment of IT budget into those areas that affect the business most – or that are the most immediate priority, such as described above.

Thanks to Oracle Public Sector Enterprise Architect Ted McLaughlan for contributing to this article!

8 years, 9 months ago

Sins of the Project Manager

The current economic and employment environments notwithstanding, things still look pretty good for project managers. They are being kept on, and are still getting hired, because organizations are still ultra-cautious about spending money and getting critical projects completed as near…

8 years, 9 months ago

Sins of the Project Manager

The current economic and employment environments notwithstanding, things still look pretty good for project managers. They are being kept on, and are still getting hired, because organizations are still ultra-cautious about spending money and getting critical projects completed as near…

9 years, 9 months ago

When effort estimations feel like buying showroom kitchens

Purchasing a showroom kitchen can be an unpleasant experience, especially if you’re not sure of the value of what you are buying. Kitchen showrooms tend to have the atmosphere of a prestigious car dealership, perhaps because the price tag of a well-designed kitchen is similar to a mid-sized car. If you happen to linger at […]